A totem pole carved for Tl’etinqox to give as a gift to the City of Williams Lake will not be going into Boitanio Park after all. Here the pole was presented in 2016 during the 40th Annual Elders Gathering held in Williams Lake. (LeRae Haynes/Williams Lake Tribune)

A totem pole carved for Tl’etinqox to give as a gift to the City of Williams Lake will not be going into Boitanio Park after all. Here the pole was presented in 2016 during the 40th Annual Elders Gathering held in Williams Lake. (LeRae Haynes/Williams Lake Tribune)

B.C. First Nation refuses totem pole gift from fellow nation

The chief of the Tl’etinqox community says the pole is being wrongly perceived as a territorial claim

A totem pole gift from members of a First Nation in B.C.’s central interior is being refused by the Williams Lake Indian Band because it’s being perceived as a claim to territory.

That’s according to Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tl’etinqox, a community that’s part of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. Alphonse said the totem pole was meant to strengthen the relationship between his community and the City of Williams Lake.

READ MORE: Totem pole unveiled at BC Elders gathering

“Gifting this totem pole was never meant to be about boundary issues, nor be a statement along territorial lines,” Alphonse said, adding he was disappointed. “If you go to Vancouver or any major city, there is First Nations art everywhere. In the Interior, it is almost non-existent.”

Alphonse said Tl’etinqox has had a long-standing gang issue and people always ask what his community is doing about it.

“We’ve taken a different approach than most. We want to focus on kids who are doing well and support them. If the totem pole is there in Williams Lake, kids can look up and be inspired that our culture is on display.”

Alphonse said he feels like he has failed, despite going to meetings with the Williams Lake Indian Band and the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council.

“The message to us was very clear that they don’t support the project and stressed it was Tl’etinqox staking their territory, but I told them we don’t deal with boundary issues from individual communities. We deal with those issues at the nation level.”

After being re-elected last week, Alphonse met with the band councillors at Tl’etinqox and they decided to come up with another use for the pole.

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars, meanwhile, said his group will engage with its council and prepare a response to the Tsilhqot’in National Government.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Laird Creek watershed logging road. Photo: Renee Hayes.
COLUMN: Healthy watersheds support resilient communities

Kendra Norwood writes about nature-based planning

Glacier Gymnastics head coach Sandra Long says she doesn’t understand why her sport is currently shut down while others are allowed to operate. Photo: Tyler Harper
‘It is bewildering’: Nelson sports leaders call out provincial shut down

Indoor group classes for activities such as gymnastics and dance are on hold

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
UPDATE: Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

This update includes the present condition of the victim and a comment from the police department

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Interior Health said its new toll-free line will help people connect to health-care services. (File)
Interior Health expands toll-free line to improve access to community care

By calling1-800-707-8550, people can be connected to several health-care services

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read